Environmental Agriculture

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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Biomass Technical Advisory Committee Announces Public Meeting

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee published a notice in the April 30, 2015, Federal Register announcing an open meeting that will provide advice and guidance...more

China Announces New Comprehensive Water Pollution Control Plan

The State Council of China has published an ambitious plan to reverse the deterioration of water quality and improve management of water resources throughout China. ...more

Parliament Finalizes EU Biofuels Reform Rule

On April 28, 2015, the European Parliament approved a draft law restricting crop-based biofuels in order to encourage production of advanced biofuels with low-risk ILUC and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ...more

EPA Requests Comment On Analysis Of Carinata Oil Feedstock

On April 24, 2015, EPA released a Federal Register notice inviting comment on analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced during the production and transport of Brassica carinata (carinata) oil feedstock for use...more

USDA Announces Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy Grants

On April 22, 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack celebrated Earth Day by announcing that USDA "is providing more than $112 million in loans and grants to help rural communities build and upgrade...more

Corn-Based Ethanol Debate Intensifies – – A Bit

A recent article in USA Today questions whether ethanol’s days are numbered. While that article is written from the perspective of whether the stock of ethanol producing companies is a good investment, it focuses on some of...more

California Governor Orders 25% Cut in Water Use—What It Means for Businesses

California is experiencing a drought of epic proportions. To meet this challenge, on April 1, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 to usher in an aggressive statewide plan for reducing water...more

What the Drought Emergency Declaration Means for Your Business

By Executive Order B-29-15, signed on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown declared a state of drought emergency “to exist throughout the State of California ….” Among other things, the recitals state: WHEREAS a distinct...more

California Water Suppliers Facing Historic Mandatory Restrictions on Water Usage

Governor’s Goal: 25 Percent Statewide Water Savings - For the first time in California’s history, urban water suppliers will soon be required to comply with new mandatory restrictions aimed at achieving a statewide 25...more

Ethanol And Agricultural Groups Send USDA A Letter In Favor Of Ethanol Funding

On March 26, 2015, a group of ethanol and agricultural groups sent a letter (the industry letter) to the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug...more

Governor Brown Orders California’s First Mandatory Water Restrictions

On Wednesday April 1, 2015, in the wake of the state’s four-year drought and a winter that brought record-low snowfalls, Governor Brown issued an executive order mandating statewide water use restrictions for the first time...more

President Obama Signs Executive Order Reducing Federal GHG Emissions

On March 19, 2015, the White House published an Executive Order signed by President Obama that would further a preference for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred products....more

Governor Brown Issues Executive Order Requiring Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions

Responding to severely depleted water supplies and a record low snowpack at just 5% of historical averages, on April 1, 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an Executive Order, effective immediately, ordering mandatory...more

Georgia Governor Expected to Sign Overhaul to Soil and Water Commission (HB 397)

On Friday, March 27, 2015 the Georgia legislature passed HB 397, overhauling the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission (“Commission“). HB 397 is intended to curb the Commission’s independence and streamline its...more

Recent Studies and Reports on Pollinators: (1) New University of Maryland Report Indicates Neonicotinoids Not Primarily...

Recently, the results of a three-year University of Maryland study assessing the potential chronic sublethal effects on whole honey bee colonies of a diet containing imidacloprid, an insecticide that belongs to the...more

USDA NOP Releases New Policy Memo on Nanotechnology

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) issued on March 24, 2015, a policy memorandum clarifying the status of nanotechnology in organic production and handling under the USDA organic...more

Industrialization Of Biology Report Released By The National Academies

On March 13, 2015, the National Academies issued Industrialization Of Biology: A Roadmap To Accelerate The Advanced Manufacturing Of Chemicals, a 143-page report prepared in response to a request from the U.S. Department of...more

Biofuel Legislation In Minnesota Criticized For Focus On Corn

The Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota is advocating strongly for two bills in the state that if passed would result in a two-year, $5 million production incentive for producers, and a capital loan equipment program. ...more

California Groundwater Users Face Unpredictable Legal Frontier

In 2014, for the first time in its 164-year history, California enacted a law that comprehensively regulates the extraction and use of the state’s groundwater. This legislative action came against the dramatic backdrop of...more

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Discuss RFS At 2015 Iowa Ag Summit

On March 7, 2015, the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit brought together several Republican Presidential hopefuls to discuss agricultural issues, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), in the United States. ...more

EU Passes Controversial Directive Concerning GMOs

On March 2, 2015, European Union (EU) Ministers approved a Directive previously approved by the European Parliament with regard to genetically modified organisms (GMO). ...more

Protective Order Issued in Suit to Stop EPA from Releasing Farmers’ Information

A federal district court in Minnesota recently issued a protective order prohibiting the EPA from releasing information about animal feeding operations—including farmers' names, home addresses, telephone numbers and email...more

Grants Available for Specialty Crops – March 26 Deadline

In early February 2015, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (MDARD) announced the availability of a series of grants for Michigan specialty crop growers. The grants are funded by...more

CEQA Roundup – Recent Developments

Numerous CEQA-related developments have recently been in the news. Some of possible interest include: Kings and Kern Counties, the Kings County Farm Bureau, and a number of other groups filed a petition on February 9 with the...more

EPA Releases For Public Comment Controversial “EPA Framework for PIP Registrants: Proposal to Address Key SAP Recommendations for...

On January 28, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has made available for public comment its proposal to improve the corn rootworm insect resistance management program currently in place for...more

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